Wednesday, November 30, 2016
From the web page of the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board
In May we reported on the proposed “marijuana law” amendment to Rule 1.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, dealing with whether a lawyer can counsel a client on conduct that is legal under some law and illegal under other law. The issue arose with the adoption of law allowing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania and other states, while the substance remains illegal under Federal law.
On October 26, 2016, in a rulemaking published at 46 Pa.B. 7164 (November 12, 2016), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted an amendment to Rule 1.2, which addresses the subject. The rule adopted adds a new subsection (e) to Rule 1.2, which states:
A lawyer may counsel or assist a client regarding conduct expressly permitted by Pennsylvania law, provided that the lawyer counsels the client about the legal consequences, under other applicable law, of the client's proposed course of conduct.
The rule adopted differs slightly from the proposed rule change published in May. The proposal allowed lawyers to counsel clients on conduct expressly permitted by the law of the state where it takes place or has its predominant effect. The adopted rule addresses only conduct permitted under Pennsylvania law.
The revised rule took effect November 25, 2016.